Bundling is hot. The idea of lumping unrelated items together and selling the whole shebang for one price has always had its appeal. In times past, it was called a grab bag or a package deal. To today’s generation, it’s a bundle.
Anyone who has sat through endless hours of repetitive competition numbers knows there’s something exciting about a dance that makes good use of props.
In a class at Connecticut Classic, a ballet competition, four boys were trying their best to master Colas’ bottle dance from La Fille mal gardée. It wasn’t the zippy footwork and sprightly jumps that had them flustered—it was a simple step into second position with the arms held high in triumph.
The results are preliminary, but they’re a no-brainer to anyone involved in arts education. A study has found that “children that partake in music activity in a group setting are more prone to developing one of humankind’s noblest traits: empathy.”
The 2012 graduates of the University of Pennsylvania got some unusual commencement advice. Nipun Mehta, the founder of ServiceSpace.org, told the Ivy Leaguers that though everyone else might expect them to fly, he wants them to walk. What he said makes sense for all of us, and it seems particularly timely advice for our business-focused issue.
Mix a mother’s frustration, the creativity of a dance teacher, and a positive message—and top it all off with social networking—and what do you get? The Brand UR.
It was only the first competition of the new season and boy, were the tears flowing already! I started to think: where are the TV crews when you need ’em? Drama, tears, girls in costumes making a scene—we had it all
It made No. 4 on TenduTV’s blog listing “APAP Preview: Ten Things the Dance Field Should Be Talking About in 2012,” and I’m sure it has been popping up in your conversations more and more. What is it? The issue of intellectual property rights, otherwise known to dance teachers as “Hey, that’s my choreography!”
This specialized lesson is a mental and physical workout—one that forces students to concentrate on which muscle is doing the work, how the hips are placed, whether the pelvis is tucked.
For many of our readers, summer is a time to slow down, maybe even take some time off. And so it seemed like perfect timing to suggest using the slower months of summer to look inward and do some personal maintenance.
It’s a new year, always a good time to think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. As dancers and dance teachers, you’ve probably got creativity on your mind—and that leads to a question you might not ask yourself very often: why make art?
Joe Tremaine is the quintessential jazz dance pro. Growing up in the New Orleans area, immersed in what he calls “the best music on Earth,” Tremaine danced his way to New York City and Europe.
When does dance become art? I think it’s when it touches your soul.
When dance teachers pick up a costume catalog, it’s usually with a specific purpose in mind. They’re searching for a certain style, a particular price, a costume that is elegant or funky—or at least not the same color as last year’s.
By Cheryl Ossola and Karen White Are We Having Fun Yet? This summer at the DanceLife Teacher Conference I was reminded of a good practice that’s easy to forget: if you want to engage people—in just about anything—make it fun. I can thank Dance Studio Life editorial assistant Arisa White . . .
The Ovations Dancing Dads—otherwise known as ODD—have an official motto: “Surrender your dignity.” Or, as Dancing Dad Craig Roncace likes to say, “We’re not the best at what we do; we’re the only ones who do what we do.”
I attend several recitals per year. I know how much effort every studio owner puts into the details of the show, whether it’s a big extravaganza or a concert-setting performance. You agonize over the selection of music, costumes, and scenery. Everything should go smoothly, especially since you planned everything so carefully.
Volunteers are the many hands that keep a recital rolling. They make buns, soothe babies, pull curtains, sell chips, and rip tickets. Many complete these menial but important tasks with care and precision (or at least give it the old college try), but what about the dressing-room mom who fusses over her own child’s appearance but ignores a 3-year-old who’s playing Picasso with a lipstick?
I’m a dance mom. In some circles, that’s a pretty ugly title, like “ax murderer” or “crazy cat lady.” But it’s true, and since they say admitting your weakness is the first step to a new you, there it is.
Late summer brings a sense of renewal as dance schools everywhere gear up for the next academic year of developing young artists.
Talk to the teachers and staff at Dance Innovations, Inc. and you’ll hear the same thing over and over—“It’s our philosophy. It’s just what we do.” And while they might struggle to put that philosophy into words, the Dance Innovations program for special-needs students speaks for itself.
Years ago, I was chatting with a veteran teacher at a dance convention. We were newly acquainted, so we were trading info on what we did and people we knew. I happened to mention that I did a lot of work with community theater groups, and this woman rolled her eyes. “Oh, I know those kind of jobs,” she said. “You do all the work and get no pay at all.”
Combo classes. The words are enough to strike fear into the heart of many a studio owner. For students and parents, the idea can be tantalizing, fun, and affordable—a little bit of everything, like an appetizer sampler.
Size matters. Or does it? It’s important if you’re a sumo wrestler or are eyeing a piece of chocolate cake, but what about dance studios? Is bigger always better, or can contentment be found in studios large, small, and somewhere in between?
Dance teachers have it tough, and I’m not talking about their work in the classroom. What’s really a challenge is dealing with the ignorance of students’ parents and those outside of the dance community, for whom dance—ballet in particular—is mysterious and overly romanticized, the stuff of dreams involving ethereal beauty, personal sacrifice, and unexpected love.
I read the magazine from cover to cover; it keeps me in touch with the dancing school world. I especially enjoyed the article on my good friend Jeanne Meixell [“Schools With Staying Power: Doing It Mom’s Way,” November 2010], and Diane [Gudat] continues to write wonderful articles with a great flair for comedy.
In this issue we asked dozens of people to share their thoughts on how to define that ever-elusive dance form, contemporary. But the fact that we even try to put parameters on an art form got me thinking. Human beings like labels.
Reading Bruce Marks’ comments in this issue (Ballet Scene: A Phenomenal Life, page 66) about the rough-and-tumble Boston Ballet before he signed on as director brought back a flood of memories.
Dance teachers seem to be well aware of their potential to influence their students, both as developing dancers and maturing human beings. But there’s a theory called the “butterfly effect” that might be worth thinking about in terms of teaching dance.
I’m writing this right after chatting with British choreographer Wayne McGregor, artistic director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and resident choreographer at The Royal Ballet.
Dance teachers take their students through hundreds, maybe thousands, of ballet barres in a lifetime. But how often does a barre end with dancers sweating, panting, gasping—and grinning from ear to ear?
At a Dance Masters of America competition last March, the students of The Gold School got a standing ovation, and it wasn’t just for their technique. It was because of their artistry. Seven years ago, when Rennie Gold, director of the Brockton, Massachusetts, school, decided to scale back from the competition scene and showcase his students through a series of benefit concerts, his goal was to create artists through dance.
You hear it all the time, from studio owners and competition directors: competing isn’t about winning; it’s about the experience. About learning, teamwork, developing stage presence, testing your limits, finding out whether you’re a minnow or a giant koi in the big pond of the competition arena. All good stuff.
Flash mobs. Specifically, dance flash mobs. They’re all over YouTube, and judging by the frequency with which people on Facebook link to them, they’re as popular with non-dance folks as with dancerly types. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out on some big fun.
Some studio owners would blanch at the idea of 175 dancers ages 4 and under running about, but Shelly Wood is in preschool heaven.
At first glance, there’s no mystery to the “d” in “Company d.” It stands for dance, or maybe for Darlene Winters, the speech therapist and lifelong dancer who founded the group nine years ago. Learn a bit more, and you might think it refers to Down syndrome. Perhaps. But anyone looking to describe these dancers with another “d” word—disabled—would be very, very wrong.
It’s so common it’s almost cliché: A teacher spends hours drilling technique, perfecting turns, straightening lines, and cleaning up arm placements. Then, just as the class steps onstage, she yells, almost as an afterthought: “And smile!”
Leyna McKenney loved to dance, but she quit when the awkward feeling of being the largest, tallest girl in the studio became too much to bear. Ten years later, preparing for an audition, she was shocked to realize that she didn’t even own a pair of dance shoes anymore.